Thermal Management Strategies Based on Active Monitoring and Control

Principal Investigator: Lin Ma, Virginia Tech,
Student: Haoting Wang, Tyler Capil, Virginia Tech
Government: Matthew Castanier, Yi Ding, Peter Schihl, U.S. Army TARDEC
Industry: Ed Hodge, Rolls-Royce LibertyWorks
Kim Yeow, AVL Powertrain Engineering

Wind tunnel experimental setupThermal management is a critical challenge for the deployment of battery systems, due to their highly dynamic operation and wide range of operation environments. For example, the optimal temperature range of operation (~20 to 40 deg. C) can be dramatically narrower than the operation range (which can vary between ~70 to -40 deg. C).

This project addresses four topics in the area of powertrain thermal management: 1) establishing an experimental platform to demonstrate and study thermal management strategies, 2) developing and validating multi-disciplinary models integrating heat transfer, fluid mechanics, and electro-thermal dynamics, 3) demonstrating and exploring control strategies to maximize the cooling performance and minimize parasitic power consumption, and 4) continuing and augmenting our collaborations with other PIs and quad members.

The end goals of this effort are twofold: 1) demonstrate control strategies to maximize cooling performance and minimize parasitic power consumption, and 2) apply these strategies to design and optimize cooling systems at a subsystem-level.

This projects collaborates with ARC researchers in the areas of battery thermal modeling, thermal issues of e-motors, integration of battery cooling sub-system in the overall powertrain control and optimization framework.


  • H. Wang, W. Xu, L. Ma, Actively controlled thermal management of prismatic Li-ion cells under elevated temperatures, International Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer, 102 (2016) 315-322.
  • H. Wang, F. He, L. Ma, Experimental and modeling study of controller-based thermal management of battery modules under dynamic loads, International Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer, 103 (2016) 154-164.
  • F. He, L. Ma, Thermal Management in Hybrid Power Systems Using Cylindrical and Prismatic Battery Cells, Heat Transfer Engineering, 37(6) (2016) 581-590.DOI:10.1080/01457632.2015.1060776
  • L. Ma, Nonintrusive and Multidimensional Optical Diagnostics and Their Applications in the Study of Thermal-Fluid Systems, Heat Transfer Engineering 37 (3-4), 359-368, 2016.
  • F. He, L. Ma, Thermal Management of Batteries Employing Active Temperature Control and Reciprocating Cooling Flow, International Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer, 83 (2015) 164-172. DOI:10.1016/j.ijheatmasstransfer.2014.11.079
  • F. He, H. Wang, L. Ma, Experimental demonstration of active thermal control of a battery module consisting of multiple Li-ion cells, International Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer, 91 (2015) 630-639. DOI:10.1016/j.ijheatmasstransfer.2015.07.069